When the United States faces Jamaica on Friday night in a crucial World Cup qualifier, each team will be gunning for three points.
For the United States, a win would vault them ahead of Mexico atop the hexagonal and all but eliminate Jamaica from qualifying for the World Cup, which has taken just two points from their first four games.
But Jamaica won't go down without a fight in Kingston, that much is for certain. Let's break down this huge qualifier.
When: Friday, June 7 at 9:20 p.m. ET
Where: Kingston National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica
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What They're Saying
As the United States learned in February when traveling to Honduras, it's important to get acclimated to new conditions in World Cup qualifiers. Against Jamaica, that shouldn't be an issue.
To improve the possibility of leaving Jamaica with three points, the U.S. has traveled to Kingston three full days ahead of the match, a rare early arrival for an away game.
The extra time in Jamaica provides some big advantages. As a starting point, the team will have more time to get acclimated to the field and weather conditions, something Klinsmann felt was a major factor in the loss in Honduras in February.
“We really felt it was important to get the guys here early, get settled, and get used to environment,” said Klinsmann. “We learned back in February that when you only come in two days before to place where it is 90 degrees and really high humidity, it is simply not possible to adjust. So we will get in a few training sessions and experience what the field will be like, and we will be well prepared for Friday.
United States Player to Watch: Michael Bradley
Clint Dempsey may be the best United States player and—if he ever returns to the national team—Landon Donovan is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink, but Michael Bradley is this team's stabilizing force. When he is on the pitch, the United States seem to play with a different level of poise.
He'll have a big task against Jamaica. For the United States to win, it will be very important to control possession, limit turnovers and give Jamaica as few opportunities to sprint forward on the counter-attack as possible. Bradley is this team's lynchpin in the midfield, so he must be sharp in his passing and smart in his decision-making.
But he'll also be asked to support the back line and win possession back. Against Mexico, Jamaica did well to work on the wings and stretch the play horizontally, but they were pretty inept once they got near the box. Bradley must be a factor defensively atop the box and force Jamaica to attack out wide.
No player in this game is more important for the United States than Bradley. If he has a big game, the Americans will, at the very least, gain a draw.
Jamaica Player to Watch: Alvas Powell
The 18-year-old right-back struggled against Mexico's Andres Guardado and Carlos Salcido running down his wing, with the latter eventually sending in the cross that resulted in Aldo De Nigris' game-winning goal.
Against the United States, he'll likely be dealing with Fabian Johnson and DeMarcus Beasley, two savvy and experienced players who will look to take advantage of any weaknesses Powell shows. Don't be surprised if the United States bases their attack on the the left side of the pitch in this contest.
Any road game in World Cup qualifying is difficult, and a trip to Kingston is certainly no exception, especially with Jamaica fighting for its World Cup life.
But I like the United States' chances. I think the team will slow the game down, look to control possession and limit Jamaica's quick counter-attacks. Against Jamaica, erring on the side of caution is always the better option.
The United States control the game in the midfield, play solid defense and win this one, 1-0.